Blog Post

January 6, 2024

Five Tips to Keep Your Child Healthy this Winter

Whether your child is age one or fifteen, they spend their days around other children their age in school, daycare, or at sports activities. This means sharing germs and possibly picking up a cold or flu bug. When your child is sick, it not only means lost school days for them but also lost workdays for you. And, if you're unlucky, you and your entire family may also get sick. To ensure your child doesn't pick up every illness this winter, you can teach them healthy habits that might protect them no matter what their age. Here are five tips to help your child stay healthy this winter.

Eating a Healthy Diet

The first protection against illness is ensuring your child eats a healthy diet. Healthy foods build a strong immune system that will fight away those pesky germs. Your child should eat five servings of vegetables and fruits a day, with two being of the yellow and orange variety. Vegetables and fruits such as kiwis, grapefruit, oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, and mangos are filled with carotenoids and flavonoids, which fight off illnesses. Minerals also play an essential role, including foods rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. A varied and healthy diet will build your child's immune system to fight off colds and flu.

Ensure Your Child Gets Plenty of Sleep

Lack of sleep lowers the immune system as well as reduces your child's ability to concentrate and learn. The National Sleep Foundation states that children 3 to 5 years old need between 11 and 13 hours of sleep a night. Children 5 to 12 years old need 10 to 11 hours of sleep. A good night's sleep not only fights off illness but also lifts your child's mood so they can have a good day.

Encourage Activity Outdoors

Expending energy with outdoor exercise and play is vital for children to maintain a healthy immune system. Daily activity for children prevents obesity, lifts their mood, and helps children sleep better at night. When it's too cold to be outside, bring your child to a gymnasium to shoot hoops or an indoor pool to swim. Or empty your garage or basement and set up activities where children can run and play. More activity outdoors and less time sitting in front of the television or computer will benefit your child overall.

Encourage Your Child to Wash Their Hands

We all learned how important hand washing was during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it's a habit that is still vital to staying healthy. Teach your younger children to wash their hands consistently after bathroom breaks, playing outside, and handling toys that are shared with other children. Your teen should keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in their locker or backpack to clean their hands between classes and before and after lunch. Keeping hands clean is the best defense against those nasty germs that spread colds and flu.

Share Toys but not Germs

Teaching children to share is wonderful, but certain items shouldn't be passed around with their friends. Teach your children not to share straws, cups, or silverware with other children while eating. It's easy to spread germs by sharing utensils and food, so let your child know that it's okay not to share food or drinks with their friends. They'll suffer from fewer illnesses if they refrain from sharing these items.

Healthy habits can go a long way to keeping your child well during the winter months. And teaching them these habits now will help them stay healthy throughout the years.

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